1977 - 1979
Founding of the Bertelsmann Stiftung
“In a democracy, the state must be able to rely on its citizens’ initiative and dedication.” Based on this belief, Reinhard Mohn founds the nonprofit Bertelsmann Stiftung on February 8, 1977, giving an equal focus to sociopolitical and corporate policy considerations. The foundation continues in an institutionalized form the longstanding political, cultural and social commitment of the Bertelsmann and Mohn families, founders of the Bertelsmann media group. The foundation is also meant to ensure continuity within the company; as a result, Mohn makes the nonprofit foundation the majority shareholder in Bertelsmann AG. Initial projects focus on political and corporate leadership, the media, culture, education, social welfare and healthcare sectors.
Activities in the media and library sectors
The Bertelsmann Stiftung begins its first initiatives in the area of communication and literacy research. By 1977, Reinhard Mohn is one of the founders of the German Reading Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding projects involving books and reading. In 1978 the first Bertelsmann Stiftung publication, “Communication Styles and the Book” is published. In addition, the first plans for building a new library for the city of Gütersloh are envisaged.
First executive director
Given its increasing number of activities, the Bertelsmann Stiftung establishes the position of executive director on January 1, 1979, a role held by Dr. Hans-Dieter Weger until September 30, 1990. His first office is located in a two-family residence at Carl Miele Strasse 198.